Anchorage Museum Exhibition Brings a Bit of The Smithsonian to Anchorage
April 19, 2006
Sharing Knowledge: Alaska Native Peoples and the Smithsonian Collections
On view April 30, 2006 to March 26, 2007
Opening reception Sunday, April 30, 1 to 3 p.m. Sharing Knowledge presents 14 extraordinary Alaska Native objects from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of the American Indian in the context of tradition, identity and contemporary life. It also previews the concept and design of the Smithsonian galleries in the expanded Anchorage Museum, opening 2010. TheSharing Knowledge opening reception on April 30 at 1 p.m. includes performances by the Kicaput Dancers.
Sharing Knowledge highlights collaborative efforts of Alaska Native elders and the Smithsonian's Arctic Studies Center to document the many hundreds of 19th century objects-masks, clothing and implements-that will be brought home to Alaska from Washington, D.C.
In 1988, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History created the Arctic Studies Center, housed at the Anchorage Museum, to promote the study of arctic people, cultures and environments. Having pursued northern studies since the 1850s, the Smithsonian possesses one of the world's finest anthropological collections from arctic regions.
On view at the museum will be extraordinary pieces, including a rare Tlingit battle helmet, Athabascan beadwork, a St. Lawrence Island Yupik ceremonial parka and an Inupiaq feast bowl. The exhibition offers Native elders' knowledge and insights into the artistry and meaning of pieces that represent the wide diversity of Alaska's indigenous traditions. Visitors will have a chance to learn about the rich legacies through interactive media presentations featuring Native elders' words and stories. The preview exhibition design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates is a prototype for the innovative lighting, media and display techniques that will be featured in the museum's new wing.
Funding for project research and exhibition was provided through a generous grant from the Rasmuson Foundation with additional support from the National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, Anchorage Museum Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Museum Loan Network and the Humanities Forum.
For more information, call 343-4326.